Real Estate Agents Face High Health Insurance Costs
For many years my husband and I have purchased individual health insurance policies from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. We are both licensed real estate agents and worked as independent contractors under the supervision of a qualifying real estate broker. We are not employees of the brokerage company. We have our license (from the State of Georgia) placed with the Broker and signed a business agreement with the broker outlining responsibilities of each party. We also signed a commission “split” agreement which details how much of the commission the broker gets to keep for each transaction. The commission paid to my account was then treated as independent contractor income and a 1099 return is provided by the Brokerage during January each year detailing the total commissions paid.
I pay 100% of my health insurance fees. My brokerage company paid $0 of the health insurance cost because I was not an employee. If you are thinking about becoming a real estate agent – let me pass along some tips before you quit your day job. Real estate agents face high health insurance costs. I currently pay over $1,000 per month for my coverage. More on that in a minute. Before you earn your first dollar of commission you are already facing a bill of $12,000 per year for health insurance costs. And for a married couple that jumps to $24,000 per year.
Last August Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia decided to no longer write individual health insurance policies in the metro Atlanta geographic area. My health care choices would have been Kaiser or Ambetter under the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Both are acceptable options but there is a big problem. From the research I did neither insurer considers Emory Hospital or Emory Healthcare or Winship Emory Cancer Center as part of the Network. I hope I am wrong about that and/or things have changed. But the research I did in fall 2017 showed it was going to be a problem to keep my doctors at Emory. And you don’t have to look at but a small sample of my advertising to guess that all my doctors are at Emory.
My husband is receiving care at Winship Cancer Institute and he certainly did not want to change doctors mid-treatment.
We talked to our insurance broker and decided to go the corporate route. We formed a corporation and both Tim and I signed Employment agreements with the company. We now receive a monthly salary in return for commitments to the corporation we formed. The company is owned by my husband and we have a lot of paperwork to do in regards to the new structure. In place of estimated tax payments, we are now making payroll deposits with the IRS, State and Department of Labor. We will have to file a corporate tax return in addition to our personal returns. All of this was necessary to continue to be covered by a Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare policy.
It is a lot of extra work but we still have access to Emory Healthcare – that’s how important the Emory Doctors, Nurses, PAs and specialists are to us. We are thankful to continue to receive care at Emory.